Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription Relating to Titian’s ‘Venus Blindfolding Cupid’ (“The Graces”), in the Galleria Borghese, Rome; and a Study of Another Painting


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 115 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIII 5 a

Catalogue entry

The inscription in the top left-hand corner of the page has been identified as referring to Titian’s, painting Venus Blindfolding Cupid circa 1565, in the Galleria Borghese, popularly known as ‘The Graces’.1 Charlotte Eaton, who visited the Villa Borghese the year before Turner and published a popular travel account, Rome in the Nineteenth Century, first published in 1820, described the painting as follows: ‘Titian’s Graces are very fat – not very young, – and dressed in very old fashioned gowns; but they are exquisitely painted. They are employed in binding Cupid.’2
Also on this page is a rough study of four figures, annotated with colour notes. This possibly represents another painting within the collection of the Galleria Borghese, although the subject is currently unidentified. For further notes and sketches on other works of art see folio 2 verso (D16765).

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Powell 1984, p.433. Reproduced in Paola della Pergola, Galleria Borghese: I Dipinti, Rome 1955–9, vol.I, no.235.
Charlotte Anne Eaton, Rome in the Nineteenth Century, vol.III, Edinburgh 1820, p.49.

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